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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

2g2                                             ^"HE TCTO OF GOELU.
G O K U L .
The town of Goknl—population 4,012—being the bead-quarters of the Valla-
bMcMryas, or Gokniashta Gcsiiins, is throughout the year crowded with pilgrims,,
of whom the majority crae from Gujarat and Bombay, where the doctrines of
the sect ImTe b^ea very widely propagated, more especially among the Bhattias
and other mercantile classes. In many of its physical characteristics the place
used to present a striking parallel to the presumed morality of its habifuds* its
streets being tortuous and unsavoury, its buildings nnartistic, its environs wa5te
and uninviting; while to complete the analogy, though only five or sis iniies
distant from Maihizrs, it was cat off from easy access by the river, and was tlms
at onee both near and remote, in, the same way as its literature is modern and
yet obscure. The picturesque appearance, which it presented from the opposite
bank, was destroyed on nearer approach. For the temples^ though they amount
to a prodigious number and are many of them ricbly endowed^ are nearly all
modem in date and for the most part tasteless in design ; while the thorough-
fares were in the rains mere channels for the floods which poured down through
ifoem to the Jamnni, and at all other seasons of the year were so rough and
broken that the rudest wheeled vehicle could wiih difficulty make its way along
them. Efforts were made for many years to improve its sanitation, but without
the slightest result/ for the Gosain Mnafidars were quit© indifferent to any
reform of the kind, and were well content to let things remain as they were.
However, by personally Interesting myself in the matter and putting an active
and intelligent Tabslldar IB local charge^ I succeeded before I left the district
in maki&£ H by universal consent one of the cleanest and neatest of towns? instead
of !>eing as formerly the very filthiest. It may be doubtful how long the reform
will last, for constant supervision is necessary in consequence of the number of
cattle driven within the walls every night, which render the place really what its
name denotes^ * a cattle yard/ rather than an abode of men. Its most note worthy
ornament is a spacious masonry tank constructed some thirty years ago by a
Seth named Chumta. The trees on its margin are always white with flocks of
large water-fowl of a quite distinct species from any to be found elsewhere in
Hie neighborhood. They are a new colony^ being all descended from a few
pars winch casually settled there no more than ten or twelve years ago. Their
plumage is peculiar and ornamental, but not at all times easy to obtain, as the
buds are considered to enjoy the beneit of sanctuary, and on one occasion^
irbesa a party of soldiers from the Matiinra cantonments attempted to shoot a
nmabcr of them, the townspeople rose enma^e for their protection. Imme-
diately opposite Hie tank and between it and ike river I had a new school built,